Current Rheumatology Reports

, Volume 12, Issue 5, pp 379–385 | Cite as

Epidemiology of Rheumatoid Arthritis: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Mortality

  • Elena Myasoedova
  • John M. DavisIIIEmail author
  • Cynthia S. Crowson
  • Sherine E. Gabriel


Increased mortality in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is widely recognized but not fully explained. Despite substantial improvements in management and growing knowledge of the determinants of increased mortality, evidence for reduction in mortality in RA has lagged behind. Indeed, most studies report no apparent reduction in mortality in RA. However, emerging evidence from some recent RA inception cohorts suggests no increased mortality, including cardiovascular mortality, but this awaits further confirmation. Although it is possible that recent advances in RA treatment may manifest in improvement of survival in the near future, other factors, including undertreated or unrecognized low-grade inflammation, comorbidities, and immunogenetic factors, may contribute to the excess mortality in RA and impede its improvement. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the rates and determinants of mortality in RA, identify and discuss potential explanations for excess mortality, and outline promising research avenues for targeting mortality in RA.


Rheumatoid arthritis Inflammation Mortality CV disease Accelerated aging 



Drs. Davis and Gabriel are co-inventors listed on a provisional patent application for a cytokine assay technology to predict therapeutic response in RA patients. No other potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elena Myasoedova
    • 1
  • John M. DavisIII
    • 2
    Email author
  • Cynthia S. Crowson
    • 1
  • Sherine E. Gabriel
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences ResearchMayo ClinicRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Division of RheumatologyMayo Clinic College of MedicineRochesterUSA

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